The UAE has been ranked among the top 10 countries globally in terms of the number of billionaires as the nation is home to 55 of them, controlling $165bn in wealth, according to Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019.
The UAE's billionaire population was found to have declined 11.3% in 2018, while the wealth they control dropped by 1.6%. Saudi Arabia - ranked ninth - saw its population of billionaires fall 8.1%, while their wealth went down by 13.2%.
High net worth individuals and ultra-high net worth individuals are expected to increase by 18% and 20%, respectively, over the next five years"
"Despite moderately positive equity markets and a growing economy, billionaires' fortunes worsened in these two countries in 2018," Wealth X research and data analytics Maeen Shaban said in the report. "The richest continue to be affected by Saudi Arabia's anti-corruption purge, which began in 2017."
Forbes magazine earlier this year featured seven Emirati billionaires in its annual list for 2019, same as last year, but the value of their assets declined year-on-year due to a slowdown in the global economy and a dip in property prices in the UAE.
The value of total assets of the billionaires fell $4.3bn or 18% to $19.7bn compared to $24bn last year.
However, wealth mangers said that the wealth of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) with over $30m in wealth will grow in the coming years.
"High net worth individuals and ultra-high net worth individuals are expected to increase by 18% and 20%, respectively, over the next five years," said Taimur Khan, research manager at Knight Frank, local news outlet Khaleej Times reported.
With the exception of the US, UK, Russia and France, the top 15 countries in the rankings all saw their billionaire populations decline.